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Our beloved Max (Max Emil Friedrich von Stephanitz, December 30, 1864 – 22 April 1936) gave us the beauitful and amazing dogs that we own today when he started the breed by purchasing Horand (then known as Hektor Linkrshein) in 1899 when he was only 35. That was the same year he formed the SV with Artur Meyer. Stephanitz used the knowledge he had acquired during his years at the Veterinary College and "...established a ‘grand design’ he wanted breeders to aim for with judging based on angle of bones, proportions and overall measurements. Horand's son Hektor v. Schwaben and his grandsons Heinz v. Starkenburg, Beowolf and Pilot were also instrumental in standardizing the breed. The first Schutzhund trial was held in Germany in 1901, so while tending was the primary focus of the dogs, it's arguably safe to say that the breed was developed with Schutzhund at least as a thought. So, we have:

Horand


His son Hektor


His grandsons Beowulf


and Pilot


and for fun, the first Sieger ever (1899), Jorg v.d. Krone


1913 Sieger Arno


1925 Sieger Klodo


1935 Sieger Jalk


Now, my point in all of this is that the first GSDs looked pretty close to todays malinois. From the first Sieger in 1899 to the last Sieger Jalk, 1935 before Capt. Max's death in '36 the dog became more like todays GSD, yet still lighter and smaller in appearance. In the first 40 some years, it appears that the dogs stayed about the same with some refinement, and some "type" emerging, but still recognizable with the original dogs. However, if you compare even Jalk to a current day Sieger, like Remo


the changes in the last 70 years have been more noticable. In the late 40s and 50s the dogs gained mass and bone. Right around 1968 seems the be the point where the largest shift occured, because after that the Siegers have a less level topline than they have in the past.

I love showline dogs. I own showline dogs. I am not in any way bashing showline dogs (or workinglines either. I have those too). This little trip through history has a point, though, I promise. lol. Showlines that look like yesteryears Siegers still exist and now we get to my point. See? Told you I had one ;) This is a dog that is living today. I do not own him but I have full permission to use his photo. He managaed to win a puppy sieger title at a regionals but I think that will be the only sieger title he ever claims.


Why can a showline today, that so resembles a VA1 dog of the past, not receive the same or even close to the same rating? Is it that our breed has changed so much? I think probably not, as this dog resembles a dog that preceded him by 80 years closely enough. Is it because our conception of what is desireable has changed? I think that is more likely the case. What do you think?
 

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Obviously the originating dogs that started the breed, were just that, a start. What was their(breeds founders) goal? Which dog(s) do they(breeds founders) think reached their goal? That is what I want to know.
 

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I don't know, my boy Blade looks a lot like the old time GSD's. He is Dark Blk Sable, longer body style. Shorter hair. But wider and more handsomer head (heehee). They don't all look like showlines. . We have some good working dog lines here in America as well as good breeders who adhere to the SV standards.

Sad but Showline standards have wandered off somewhere -. ???

My caps off to all of them.
 

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Obviously the originating dogs that started the breed, were just that, a start. What was their(breeds founders) goal? Which dog(s) do they(breeds founders) think reached their goal? That is what I want to know.
Yeah, what she said.
 

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Obviously the originating dogs that started the breed, were just that, a start. What was their(breeds founders) goal? Which dog(s) do they(breeds founders) think reached their goal? That is what I want to know.
The original intent was to create a superior breed of shepherding dog.

GSD's were not originally developed to be used in the military nor for police work. It was the progression of time and technology that forced Max to find other uses for his breed, and it was his insistance that the dog be bred primarily for utility rather than looks that allowed it to make the transistion into other areas.

So in the end, Max accomplished two goals. First to create his shepherding dog and then to move forward and let the breed evolve as man's use for shepherding dogs diminished.
 

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Max realized that shepherding was going away as a primary use for his dogs so he then made every effort to make the GSD the official German Army dog.
That is why the standard calls for so many character components like hardness, willingness to fight but also ability to be a family dog among many others. He wanted a mentally versatile and 'solid' dog as well as a physical one. The last Sieger Jalk, 1935, looked nothing like his predecessors and exactly like today's GSDs.
 

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Hint: when was Sch created in reference to the creation of the breed and was herding still prevalent at that time....also of the four types of dogs used to create the GS were they all herding dogs??
 

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Hint: when was Sch created in reference to the creation of the breed and was herding still prevalent at that time....also of the four types of dogs used to create the GS were they all herding dogs??
Pop quiz and no one wants to take it??? :) ;)

The sheep farming industry in Germany declined by approximately 65% between 1873 and 1900. By 1912 the industry was reduced to 20% of it's former self having shrunk by 80%. (no guarantee that those numbers are 100% accurate but they're close)

Max began his breeding program around 1890, 10 years before actually forming the SV, then using Horand as his foundation dog. Due to the rapid decline of the sheep farming industry in Germany during this time it's not hard to see that Max's original goal for the breed had to be modified if the breed was to survive, and we can see that the decline was taking place as he was working on his new breed.

So the question is, does this change the fact that his original intent was to create a national German Shepherding Dog? I don't think it does. What the dog became most known for is a direct result of changing with the times but it doesn't change history. Correct me if I'm wrong.

When ever Schutzhund was introduced, whether it was in 1901 or the 1920's (I've read both in more than one reference) I'm not sure that speaks to the dogs intended purpose other than it was supposed to be a working dog. Dogs that work tending livestock would come under that classification right??

Last question... I'm mostly familiar with the shepherding dogs from the Thuringian and Wurtternberg regions and Horands (and Luchs) background. Please elaborate, it's all pretty interesting.
 

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If I remember correctly, Schutzhund was created to show how well suited the GSD was for a military dog, so it included obedience, tracking and protection.

I seemed to remeber that at least one of the lines used to create the breed were guard dogs, not herding dogs.
 

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You had farm dogs from the Wurttember/Swabian lines and fast to bite/protection dogs from Thuringer. The farm dogs would herd all day, was a family member and earned his keep by working. These were large/calm, slow to anger dogs. The yard dogs were owned by the wealthy to protect their belongings and chase squatters off their land. Smaller dogs, quick to anger, bite first then ask questions. Breeders today are deconstructing the animal Stephnitz created.
 

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baldemar, its true that many working lines look like the siegers of the past, including mine. But the point is that none of them would stand a chance at winning sieger today. It's definately tastes that have changed, 95% of dogs aren't working dogs anymore, they're pets and the more beautiful the pet the more likely it is to sell.

I have a working line, and am partial to working lines. But that picture of Remo, its stunning. That is one beautiful dog. The German Showlines with their huge heads and dark reds are beautiful dogs and definately make more of a statement to the outside world than a working line GSD.

Great history timeline, it would be awesome to make a morphing animation using pictures of each year's sieger winner from 1899 to 2011, just to see the gradual change in the breed.
 

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I have a working line, and am partial to working lines. But that picture of Remo, its stunning. That is one beautiful dog. The German Showlines with their huge heads and dark reds are beautiful dogs and definately make more of a statement to the outside world than a working line GSD.

Great history timeline, it would be awesome to make a morphing animation using pictures of each year's sieger winner from 1899 to 2011, just to see the gradual change in the breed.
The German showlines with their huge heads and ski-jump backs look nothing like any GSD in Max's time. Would also like to see every ASL GV for the same years to see which lines went farther astray.
 

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There were two types of Swabian dog.
At one time Doc explained about the Swabian's temperament but I don't remember him talking about the two different types, can you elaborate? (or anyone?)

I've had it in my head that the Swabian dogs are the arm of the breed that brought a certain quiet calm but also a protective nature to the breed, is that partially right? The protective instinct was what made them good shepherd dogs but they weren't necessarily attack dogs?
 

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A "Swabian" German shepherd. Notice the structure of this dog and it's coat. These were from the Wurttemberg region of Germany - mountains. cold, sheep country.



These dogs "protected" the flocks - they were calm and methodical and would work all day. They instinctively knew how to tend the flock, nerves of steel, defend it's territory when needed, and slow to anger. Almost 180 degress different than the Thuringer dogs.

Fast forward to 2012. Do you see any similarities between the Swabian dog above and the German shepherd below?

 
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